Covid-19 lockdown: 'Surfers questioning what risk they pose to each other in the ocean'

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published May 6, 2020

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Cape Town - Looking at the crashing waves and not being able to ride them, became too much to bear for a group of surfers, who vented their anger through a silent protest along the Muizenberg beachfront.

Thirty surfers who had attempted to take to the water and a group of surfers coming from across the city held a silent protest on the main road. There was also another silent protest by surfers at Blouberg Beach.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said Muizenberg police informed the surfers that it was against Disaster Management regulations to do this.

They then dispersed peacefully.

She said two men aged 52 and 65 were arrested.

Owner of Atlantic Surf Co surf shop Anton Fourie said: “Many believe that surfing can be allowed, especially because of the unreasonable rules and regulations we are living under.

“The lockdown was good for a few weeks, however once more of the rules and regulations came out, it seemed unfair to the freedom of many people.

“The majority of the surfers are questioning what risk they stand to each other if they are surfing or swimming in the water because they do not sit next to each other in the water anyway. There is enough distance between the surfers in the water. However we do understand that sitting on the beach may be of concern and can be avoided.”

Surfers protesting on Blouberg Beach, Cape Town over not being allowed to surf under the current lockdown level 4. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Andre Berry from Plumstead, who has surfed for 15 years, said: “The peaceful movement was to raise awareness to the government so that they could hear us and we could hopefully have the ban on surfing lifted.

“The surfers want to be back in the water. In the water one is able to adhere to the regulations and stick to social distancing. It has taken our freedom away as to who we are as individuals.”

Berry said beaches were essential aspects to some people’s daily lives.

“It is also critical to one’s mental/physical well-being. The majority of surfers do believe that this activity should be permissible as it is fit for the body, mind and soul. The emergencies that could arise from surfing are no different to those of people who are allowed to cycle or jog in the streets.”

Surfers protesting on Blouberg Beach, Cape Town over not being allowed to surf under the current lockdown level 4. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Surfers protesting on Blouberg Beach, Cape Town over not being allowed to surf under the current lockdown level 4. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

@Sukainaish

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Cape Argus

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